Portales community full of characters

MIke Linn

For the past year I have lived and worked in Portales, a community of characters galore, funny folk and, as the sign reads, a few old grouches.
But because of my transfer to the Clovis office of Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico I will no longer work in Portales.
Needless to say, I’ll miss those I worked with, even the grouches.
Here are a few things I won’t forget about members of the Portales community:

Mayor Orlando Ortega is serious about the city’s economic development. If I had a dollar for every time I heard the friendly mayor talk up the city’s future in the terms “economic development,” I could possibly have enough money to match what the city’s economic development tax generated this past year. Ortega has big and bold dreams for Portales, as any good mayor should.

Eastern New Mexico University Communications Director Wendel Sloan is a defensive specialist on the basketball court at Greyhound Arena, where he and other ENMU staff participate in daily noon-time pickup games. The witty Eastern promoter may not be the quickest on the court, or the one with the most hair on his head, but his flailing arms and erratic defense allow for an obnoxious orchestra of clings of clangs near the rim.
Lindsey Middle School’s Todd Morris is pretty hip for a grade-school principal. The young Ruidoso native once wore a dress to school after losing a friendly bet with his sixth-grade students, and his bleach-blond hair makes him look more like a surfer or college golfer than a promoter of education.

The Roosevelt County Commission, politicians they are not. I’ve been to many meetings of public commissions and committees but have yet to find a group as entertaining and outspoken. From the opinionated Tom Clark to the talkative Dennis Lopez, this handful of elected officials should be the poster group for small-town politics in America.

Charlie Carmichael can spin a tale or two. The Dora lunch lady has an interesting personality and a gregarious and outspoken charm. She is a strong advocate of county news, making sure those outside the city get their fair shake of the spotlight in the paper. She also has a grab bag of stories involving everything from blind prairie chickens flying into her house to rattlesnakes scaring the youth group at the Dora Baptist Church.
I’m not allotted the space to feature every community member who has affected me in one way or another. But I can honestly say my time in Portales will provide more than a few smiles and chuckles down the road. The community is unique and welcoming of newcomers. This I’ll never forget.
Mike Linn is now news editor at the Clovis News Journal. He can be contacted at 763-6991 or by e-mail:
mike_linn@link.freedom.com